Burma's Thaw Now Extends to Media

Journalists can criticize gov't, but still many limits
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2011 7:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – The political thawing of tropical Burma seems to be continuing, as the second-least-free country in the world for journalism (after North Korea) has begun to relax its tight controls over the media. As the Wall Street Journal reports, pictures of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi have appeared in newspapers for the first time in years, journalists are able to post stories online without prior government approval, and there has been some criticism of the government in print.

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Newspapers even covered last week's mass-amnesty of hundreds of political prisoners. "I had to pinch myself" to believe it was all happening, said one government critic. And critical coverage of a $3.6 billion dam with China led to public opposition that canceled the project. There are still many limits—criticism of the military is still prohibited. But, "compared to what we had a few years ago, we are much freer," says the editor of a monthly business magazine. But he said there are still many limits: "They may be opening up, but we know they are still afraid of many things." (Read more Burma stories.)

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